Harrisburg, April 9, 2014 – Today a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the Senate and House voiced their support for imposing a severance tax on natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania.
While there was no clear consensus among the legislators on the exact terms of the severance tax, there was a seemingly unanimous agreement that the state’s current impact fee has shortchanged Pennsylvania taxpayers, and that basic education should be a major benefactor of the severance levy.[hdvideo id=144 ]
“Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation that does not impose a severance tax on natural gas,” said Senator Vincent Hughes, (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia) Democratic Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “We all agree that we need legislation that will correct this policy failure and generate funding for critical needs, including education.”
Under current law, Pennsylvania is only projected to receive $217 million as a result of the current drilling impact fee. Proposed pieces of legislation currently circulating through the capitol could generate up to $937 million through a combination of both the fee and severance tax.
“We need legislation that makes sure that natural gas drillers, which include some of the largest corporations in the world, are paying their fair share going forward,” said Hughes.
“This is a common sense issue, not a partisan issue,” said Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks). DiGirolamo estimated that if legislation with a fair and reasonable tax rate were brought to House floor today 25 to 30 Republicans would support the measure.
Other legislators at the event included Senators John Yudichak (D-Carbon/Luzerne), James Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland), Judith Schwank (D-Berks), Edwin Erickson (R-Chester/Delaware), Representatives Greg Vitali (D-Delaware), Tina Davis (D-Bucks), Pamela DeLissio (D-Montgomery/Philadelphia), and Thomas Murt (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia).